August is the apex of the Paris picnic season. That's because the weather is nice, the outdoor festivals are plentiful, and…most of the restaurants are closed.
The French tradition of extended summer vacations means that your favorite chef may very well be out of town when you visit Paris.
Vacation schedules vary, and the easiest way to learn if your desired restaurant will be open is to call and (try to) make a reservation. A recorded message will usually tell you if they're away. You may also find a good number of bakeries and pastry shops closed, but museums and tourist attractions will all be open.
To illustrate how widespread these closures are, I called a sampling of my favorite restaurants that have been previously featured in these pages. Here's the bad news:
Le Baratin (read here) closed now to September 3
Bistrot Paul Bert (read here) closed now to August 26
Breizh Café (read here) closed now to September 1
Cantine de Quentin (read here) closed August 3–25
Le Cerisaie (read here) closed now to August 27
Le Chapeau Melon (read here) closed August 1–26
Chez Michel (read here) closed now to August 24
Crêperie Josselin (read here) closed August 3–September 3
Mon Vieil Ami (read here) closed now to August 19
Pierre Gagnaire (read here) closed now to August 25
Le Verre Volé (read here) closed August 10–17
The good news: in addition to the lovely wine bar Fish (69 rue de Seine, 6th arrondissement, 011-33/1-43-54-34-69), which closes only during the last week (August 25–31) when everyone else is coming back, the following restaurants will be open every day:
Drouant (read here)
L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon (read here)
Le Comptoir du Relais (read here)
Le Petit Marché (read here)
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